Mezuzah Maven

For the week ending 3 February 2018 / 18 Shevat 5778

Mezuzah on the Front Door

by Rabbi Ze'ev Kraines
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Q: I am very happy that my son has become more religious, but I am worried that he is becoming “ultra-Orthodox”. I come from a traditional home; in fact, my mother kept kosher, and we had a mezuzah. I too have always proudly placed a mezuzah on my front door, but now my little “rabbi” wants us to buy mezuzahs for every single door! Is this necessary?

A: Your son is fortunate that he has such supportive parents. You will surely have a lot of nachat from him as he blossoms into an inspired Jew and eventually establishes his own home.

While it is true that sometimes “newbees” to Jewish observanceneed some guidance to make sure they don’t go off the deep end, in this case there is nothing “ultra” about your son’s request. There is no question that every door to in a Jewish home deserves a mezuzah as long as it meets the criteria we discuss weekly in this column. In the words of Kitzur Shulchan Aruch:

It is a positive commandment to affix a mezuzah to every doorway. Even if one has several rooms, and each room has several doors that are intended for entry and exit, nevertheless a mezuzah is required for all the doors.

Unfortunately, you are correct to note that years back it was common for people to have only one mezuzah on their front door. We must remember that the opportunities for Jewish education in our parents’ generation were limited, and sometimes the traditions that they followed were uninformed. Thankfully, this anomaly has been rectified in our times, and it is now accepted practice to fulfill the mitzvah properly, even at great expense. You can be proud that the Jewish education you have provided your son with has inspired him to want to follow authentic halachic rulings.

  • Sources: Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De’ah 286:16-17; Rema Yoreh De’ah 287:2; Shach 286:9; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 11:1

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